Raccoons are seen as cute and cuddly by some. Some people even keep these animals as pets. They can be kind of cute but you should have your guard up if you see them out and about. Just like with any other wild animal you should treat it like a wild animal. This article looks at what to do if you see a raccoon, it will also help you gain some more insight into raccoons and why you should stay away from these animals.
If you’re going about your day minding your own business and you see a raccoon don’t be alarmed. Raccoons can carry a variety of diseases and their long claws may be dangerous but the best thing to do is to stay calm and keep moving.
Are raccoons harmful?
They can be. Generally, racoons are gentle and peaceful creatures. That being said if the racoon has no way of leaving the situation and feels threatened by you then it can become aggressive and will fight.
A mother raccoon can be aggressive in an effort to protect her young and a racoon that feels threatened can be very dangerous and fight you if it feels it’s in danger. Raccoons are most dangerous if they have rabies. If they have rabies they will be aggressive towards you and they can infect you.
Raccoons, in certain situations, can be dangerous. In addition, the raccoon drooping’s can be a serious health risk to humans. The raccoon faeces can spread a number of diseases and these diseases can be fatal to humans. Diseases such as rabies and others can be carried by raccoons. The animal can easily give you the disease if you come into contact with it, there are ways to tell what sickness the raccoon has based on its symptoms read more here.
What to do if you see a raccoon?
Raccoons are known to be nocturnal animals. If you find a raccoon out during the day then it will be out for one of three reasons 1. There is something wrong with it, either it has rabies or something else. 2. It might be a mother raccoon looking for food for her cubs. 3. There is no human activity out and it feels free enough to be out
Rabies can give the raccoon behavioural changes which will include aggression, it will attack you out of nowhere. Adult and baby raccoons can have rabies. This is how to tell if a baby has rabies
In your house:
A raccoon can damage your property if it’s inside your house. It can tear up ducts, make a mess of your insulation, chew up wiring or pipes in the house. This can affect your heating bills as you will feel that you need to use more central heating. Fixing the damage will cost you a lot in maintenance costs than calling pest control. The faeces and urine can spread diseases that can be fatal to humans.
Things to do:
- Don’t force it into a corner, this will make it want to fight and this can be detrimental to you
- Leave your doors and windows open so it can get out
- Wear protective clothing if you decide to engage with it
- Remove pets and children from the room that the raccoon is in
- Close any doors that will lead to other rooms, only open doors or windows that lead to outside
- Set a raccoon trap and use bait to lure it
- Turn on the tv or radio, they don’t like loud noises.
- Leave a trail of food leading to the door or window, this will help them find an escape.
- If you have something long like a broom you can use it to push the racoon to a door or window leading outside the house.
- If the animal is being aggressive back-off and call animal control
- This article will help you find products that will get rid of the raccoon. (there are humane options as well)
In your yard
The raccoons might not be dangerous at first but they can pose a problem in the near future. They can kill your pests if an altercation occurs between them. They can wreak havoc on your bird feeder’s, topple your trash cans, eat up and destroy your flowers and steal vegetables and fruits.
Things to do:
- You can lay racoon traps out in your garden to try to catch it
- Use ultrasonic devices in the garden to deter the racoon
- Remove the garbage so the raccoon doesn’t have a place to find food and won’t have a reason to stay in the garden
- Remove pet food so the racoon has no reason to stay in the area
- If the animal is being aggressive backoff and call animal control
In the wild
This is their natural habitat and territory. In the morning you might find a mother raccoon foraging for food or a rabid raccoon out in the wild. You need to avoid contact to avoid any incidents between you can the raccoon.
Things to do:
- Make sure you’re covered up if you will be going into a racoon area
- Don’t feed the racoon. The animal will lose its natural fear of humans.
- Keep a far distance from the raccoon, if you get close to it the raccoon might feel threatened and try to attack
- If the raccoon approaches you, you’ll need to make yourself look larger and threatening, do this by shouting, standing up and wildly waving your arms
- At all costs avoid confrontation with the racoon, this is the safest option
- Runaway, you don’t want to run the risk of the animal attacking you, giving you a disease and possibly giving your rabies or some unsightly scratch or bite marks
Do raccoons carry diseases?
Yes, raccoons carry diseases, they are well known for carrying rabies but they also carry diseases other than rabies. The diseases that raccoons get can be transferred through viruses, parasites and bacteria these diseases include:
Leptospirosis: This disease is spread through urine. When urine from an infected racoon touches the skin, mouth, nose, eyes or throat of an uninfected animal the animal will become infected. This disease causes animals to become severely ill and it can cause humans to become ill as well. This disease causes a high fever, muscle aches, headaches liver problems as well as kidney problems.
Racoon roundworm: This type of roundworm can infect both animals and humans. The faeces of an infected raccoon carries the roundworm eggs and these eggs (after they develop into their infections forms) can survive in soil for years on end. The disease is transferred through ingestion and if ingested can cause serious illnesses in the body. The symptoms of this disease include tiredness, loss of muscle control, lack of coordination, blindness and even a coma
Giardiasis: This illness can be carried by a number of animals and is transferred very easily. The disease is carried in raccoon faeces. These faeces can transfer the disease by contaminating water, contaminating soil and even contaminating surfaces. The disease is accidentally ingested and the result is gastrointestinal problems.
Do all raccoons carry rabies?
No, not all racoons carry rabies, the only way to truly tell if the racoon has rabies is to test it in a lab. If you are not in a lab and notice a racoon showing some unusual behaviour the racoon might have rabies. The tell-tale signs that the raccoon has rabies if foaming at the mouth. There are a couple of other symptoms that may indicate that the animal has rabies.
- Difficulty walking
- High pitched noises
- Discharge from the eyes nose or mouth
- The fur of the raccoon is wet and matted
- Animal does not register noise or movement
How likely is it for a raccoon to have rabies?
Raccoons are the animals that suffer the most from the rabies stigma but the chances that a racoon has rabies is quite low. This animal is most associated with the disease but you can rest assured that the majority of raccoons do not have rabies. In fact, the reports show that of all rabies cases recorded bats accounted for 30.9 percent and racoons account for 29.4 percent.
How do animals get rabies in the first place?
The main method of infection of rabies from racoon to raccoon is through the saliva. The virus is found in the animal’s nervous tissue, it then moves up to the brain until it finally finds its way to the saliva glands where it can pass from animal to animal.
When the infected animal bites an uninfected animal the virus infects the uninfected animal. Other types of infections happen when the saliva or nervous tissue of an infected animal comes into contact with an open wound or mucous membrane of another animal. The latter method of infection is less common but is still possible.
Can you cure rabies in raccoons?
There is no cure for rabies for raccoons but there is a vaccine for rabies given to raccoons. There has been widespread effort to create a herd immunity through the feeding of raccoons bait which contains the rabies vaccine. The vaccine is a killed virus administered either by injection or as a capsule in bait.
Can you get sick from touching a raccoon?
Yes, you can get sick from touching a raccoon. The transfer of disease from raccoons to humans is deceptively easy, you can handle or touch a raccoon and get sick. You can also get exposed to whatever disease the raccoon has if you are exposed to the raccoon’s body secretions or faeces. You can even get infected with a disease if the raccoon infects and contaminates a surface and you touch the surface without disinfecting it first. It is very important to see a physician after you’ve come in contact with a raccoon
Can you get rabies from a scratch from a raccoon?
Yes, you can get rabies from a scratch of an animal but this is very rare. The easiest and most common way of getting infected by a rabid raccoon is through the saliva, the saliva is where the virus is secreted. When it comes to rabies, the chances of getting sick from petting, touching or being in contact with a rabid raccoon’s blood, faeces or urine are not seen as causes of concern, raccoon bites are.
Are raccoons aggressive to humans?
No, generally raccoons are not aggressive to humans as long as humans do not approach them or back them into a corner. These actions make raccoons feel attacked. If they feel attacked they can become vicious towards you. Generally, raccoons are calm, mild and will go about their business when humans are around and they don’t feel threatened.
Raccoons are generally less aggressive because they are not anywhere close to the top of the food chain. If they encounter a larger animal the larger animal can be a predator so raccoons will most likely flee for their safety, this included humans
That being said, raccoons have very strong jaws and sharp claws. These anatomical features aren’t necessarily for fighting but they can come in handy if the raccoon is feeling attacked. If you approach a raccoon and it feels threatened these long claws will certainly tear into your skin
What to do if a raccoon attacks you?
Immedicably seek medical attention. Even if it doesn’t seem that the animal has rabies you don’t know for sure. If you get infected with rabies and you don’t get medical attention before the symptoms kick in then you have a higher chance of dying. Symptoms can take 1 week to a year to set in. Racoon claws can easily tear into human skin. If the animal scratches you then you need to get your wounds treated to prevent infection
Is it legal to kill raccoons?
It depends on where you are in the world and where you are in the states. Different states have very different laws surrounding the killing of raccoons.
Under some jurisdictions, it is illegal to kill raccoons under any circumstances what so ever. There are other jurisdictions in the states that permit the killing of raccoons and you can do this friendly with no restrictions.
Deepening on where you are in the south, raccoon killings are allowed and raccoon hunts are allowed as they fall under state-sanctioned religious activity. If you want to kill a raccoon you need to pay close attention to how your state handles the killing of racoons.
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